Friday, May 4, 2012

Soapy Haul: Essential Oils

Hi, my name is Jenny, and I'm a fragrance/essential oil addict.

I am. I can't help it. It's like, I get around fragrance and essential oils and I just become another person. A weak and powerless person. I don't even know what happens when I get around that stuff. It just takes over. It makes me do strange things with my credit card. And later, after I regain consciousness, I think, My God, what have I done this time?

My friends and family members have seen it. I will get into my stash and sniff and sniff and sniff while my life crumbles around me. The dirty clothes need to be washed and dinner needs to get cooked? Sorry, hon, but I'm busy hanging out with my good buddies Cucumber Melon, Patchouli, and Monkey Farts. Maybe there's a DiGiorno in the freezer, and you do have more than one shirt, don't you?

Me during some very dark times
It started innocently enough. When I first started making soap, I bought two - two! - fragrance oils. And with my next order, I bought more. And more the next time. Each time, more and more and more. Now, they've taken over an entire storage cabinet. Actually, my soapmaking addiction has taken over half of a spare room.

I justify my behavior. I tell myself, Oh, I'm not so bad. I know lots of other people who are in deeper than I am. People who have hundreds, nay, thousands more fragrance oils than I do. And half of a room is nothing - some soapmakers have entire buildings dedicated to their addiction. I've got this under control, and I can quit anytime I want.

And although I already have a bunch of fragrance oils that I really should use up before I buy new ones, I still somehow end up purchasing more. It's like it's never enough, and if one is good, twenty is better.

I don't know how much money I've spent on my soapmaking addiction. I'm afraid to do the math.

And yet, when one of my suppliers recently had a sale on essential oils, I lost control again. I bought ten four-ounce bottles of essential oils from Soap Making Resource. But I had to ... it was a sale! The oils I bought were anywhere from 12%-71% off! I couldn't afford to not buy them.

Although I have lots of fragrance oils, I have few essential oils. And this sale provided me with the perfect excuse opportunity to stock up so I can try some new blends.

So here's what I got:

Patchouli: Earthy and rich, like sweet dirt.

Grapefruit: Know what? I can't stand the taste of grapefruit. It's right up there with cantaloupe. Yuck-o. But I like how it smells. The scent is light and citrusy with a pleasantly bitter bite.

Spearmint: Love-love. Super strong and minty, like Wrigley's Spearmint gum.

Litsea Cubeba: Lemony and sweet, like lemon candy. Good for anchoring citrus scents.

Geranium Rose: Light rose scent.

Lavender Premium: Because the price was so good, I sprung for the Premium instead of the 40/42, which is what I usually use. The Premium is supposed to be more floral and less camphoraceous than the 40/42.

Rosemary: Green, woodsy, and slightly minty with a touch of camphor.

Sweet Basil: Green and herbaceous with a touch of licorice.

Lemongrass: Very lemony with a hint of greenness.

Cedarwood: Smoky and woodsy.

And some FREEBIES!

Sample of Tea Tree essential oil: Tea Tree is interesting. When I sniff just Tea Tree EO, I always think of my grandfather's workshop. He was an avid radio-controlled plane flyer, and I remember his workshop smelling of sawdust and gasoline. That's what Tea Tree smells like to me on its own. It's not a bad smell, but it's also not a pretty smell. When used sparingly in a blend, though, it's wonderful. (Lavender and Tea Tree is a personal favorite!)

Madder Root Powder: A lovely orange-red powder. I hear that it can produce a color anywhere from a light pink to a rich red, depending on how much is used. I haven't played around much with natural colorants, so I'm looking forward to trying this out.

Peppermint Leaves: I think I'll grind these up into a fine powder to add specks of color or to create a pencil line in my minty soaps.

Tussah Silk: I was so hoping that I would get some of this in my grab bag! I have heard so many good things about silk in soap, and I've wanted to try it. My understanding is that you add a pinch of silk to your hot lye solution and allow it to dissolve, infusing your lye. Silk is supposed to give soap more lather and luxurious suds.

What am I going to do with all of this stuff? Well, I have been keeping a notebook with fragrance blend ideas. Here are some I'm considering trying with my new arsenal of essential oils:

~ Cedarwood and patchouli
~ Cedarwood and peppermint
~ Geranium rose and peppermint
~ Grapefruit and patchouli
~ Lavender and grapefruit
~ Lavender and lemongrass
~ Lavender with rosemary, tea tree, patchouli, basil, litsea cubeba, or geranium rose
~ Lemongrass and tea tree
~ Lemongrass with peppermint and/or spearmint
~ Orange 10x with lemongrass or litsea cubeba
~ Patchouli with lemongrass and/or litsea cubeba
~ Spearmint with eucalyptus or peppermint
~ Blend of lavender and cedarwood with a bit of patchouli
~ Blend of lemongrass, basil, and rosemary

What do you think of my blend ideas? What are some of your favorite fragrance blends?


  1. Geranium & Patch ... about 70/30 or 60/40 depends on which you like the most... allow to sit for a month and oh boy, you'll love it!!

    1. Thanks for the suggestion, Celine! Geranium rose and patchouli sound fantastic together. I will have to give that a try!

  2. Ah, how well I know your addiction to all things scentillating, Jer! Your blend ideas sound intriguing, especially the lemongrass, basil, and rosemary. I also think something with a tea rose or geranium rose oil with ginger would be nice.

    1. Thanks, Mom! I do love all things scentillating - you've had to tear me away from many a candle store before. Lemon goes so well with herbaceous scents, so I really like the idea of lemongrass, basil, and rosemary, too. Rose and ginger would also be very nice together - thanks for the suggestion!

  3. Lavender and tea tree is one of my favorite combos as well, as is peppermint and tea tree. Cedarwood and patchouli are very nice together. It was one of my most popular at the Texas Ave Maker's Fair, people loved it. It smells like... a piece of lumber, to me haha. But in a good way!

    I hit up that SMR sale too! But I got more herbs and powders than EOs. The grab bag was a nice surprise though. Wish I would've gotten the silk! I've been dying to try it too.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Gladly! I bought a bar of tea tree and peppermint soap once and really liked it, too. Cedarwood and patchouli is one that I would really like to try - I'm a huge patchouli fan, and cedarwood would pair nicely with it. It would be especially great for guys. My husband and I both went out to the Maker's Fair to say hi, but we couldn't find your booth! I'm sorry that we missed you, but I'm glad that you had a good day at the fair.

    2. Oh no! I wasn't in the main "loop," kind of stuck in the middle behind that huge tie-dye tent, so we did miss a lot of traffic, but I had fun. And since it was my first kind of event, I did learn a lot about what I wanted to do with my setup, what people were looking for, and things like that.

      There was another soaper with a table there who was very nice, and I talked to her a bit and--even though my friend made fun of me--of course, I bought some of her soap. Nonsoapers don't understand why I would want to buy other people's soaps when I make my own haha.

    3. We must have just missed you or not been looking in the right places. We checked the main pavilion and the tables that were kinda scattered around the periphery, but I guess maybe there were some tables on the other side of the pavilion that we didn't see. Anyway, I'm glad that you had fun at your first event! And I totally understand buying soap from other soapmakers - I like to try new kinds of soap, too, and see what other soapmakers are doing!

  4. the second paragraph had me laughing...I can relate!! I wanted to take advantage of the sale from SMR too but I had already ordered some FOs. Can't wait to see what blends you come up with! :)

    1. Thanks, Kalla! Even though I have plenty of fragrance and essential oils, I can always find more! Normally I wouldn't have bought so many EOs in one go, but the prices were so good. I'm looking forward to playing around with my new fragrances!

  5. I feel ya girl! I was keeping my stash in a small box. Then it was 2 small boxes. Last weekend I gathered them all up and counted 78 bottles and I don't even sell soap I just make it for fun. I am addicted to bath products and there are too many choices!!
    Oh.. I just blended up a Lemongrass, Lavender and Tea Tree EO today. I love anything lemon or citrus :)
    Now I have to get some peppermint and cedarwood... lol

    1. Thanks for your comment, Kim! Lemongrass, lavender, and tea tree sounds fantastic! I love lemon/citrus scents, too. When I first started soaping, I kept all of my supplies in a plastic shoebox-style storage box. Then I got a three-drawer wheeled cart and thought I was set. Soon after that, I needed another cart. Now I have two 6 ft x 3 ft shelves and three wheeled carts full of soapmaking stuff! I make soap just for fun, too - I can't imagine how much room I'd be taking up if I needed to produce lots of soap!

  6. I just started soaping recently and came across your blog. Love all the different smells but the mixing and matching is a real hit or miss! haha... Sigh. Anyway, love your blog. Its been very helpful.

    1. Hi, Way, and thanks so much for your comments! It's fun experimenting with scent blends - some do work out better than others, lol. Now that I've got some EOs to play with, I'll have to try out some new combos, too. Thanks for reading my blog! Happy soaping to you!

  7. You've given me so many scent combinations to ponder *mind blown*! I can't wait to see how they turn out!

    1. Thanks, Nikki! I certainly have lots of scent combos to play with now. I need to get busy experimenting!

  8. I absolutely love spearmint! I have to watch it or I end up putting it in everything lol

    1. Thanks, Nyota! I know what you mean - I'm like that with peppermint. I'll have to try some spearmint soon. I'm sure I'll love it! I love anything minty.


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